Cherry blossoms in Japan are worth celebrating, and there’s nothing like a festival atmosphere to enhance the sakura viewing! Several of Tokyo’s top cherry blossom spots host annual festivals for a week or two around mid-bloom (usually falling over two weekends).

Festivals mean food, drinks, and lots of people — which is why many of them have been canceled or scaled back in recent years, during the pandemic. However, quite a few are back this year (though some restrictions remain in place). These festas will be quieter during the week, if crowds are not your jam.

When are the cherry blossoms blooming this year in Tokyo? Early! The latest sakura forecast has first bloom in Tokyo on March 16 — and full bloom around March 24.

Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival

March 17 to April 9
Ueno Park
Swan boats and stalls

Cherry blossoms in the foreground and boaters on the lake in Ueno Park in the background
Taking a boat out on the pond is a popular Ueno Park pasttime. | Photo by Getty Images

Ueno Park hosts one of the busiest Tokyo cherry blossom festivals, with a boating lake, plenty of food stalls, and of course, lots of cherry trees. There are more than 800 trees to admire and the ground will be covered with blue tarps for days in advance, so expect crowds and lots of fun.

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You can go boating on the large pond either in a swan or traditional rowing boat, and stroll beneath the blossoms while snacking on festival food to your heart’s content.

Bokutei Cherry Blossom Festival

March 18 to April 9
Sumida Park
Cruises and festive atmosphere

Cherry blossoms and pink lanterns along the Sumida River
Cherry Blossoms along the river at Sumida River. | Photo by Getty Images

An excellent place for a hanami party, Sumida Park has over 600 cherry trees between Azumabashi Bridge and Sakurabashi Bridge. The residents of Tokyo have been enjoying the blossoms here for hundreds of years, so you can valiantly carry on the traditions in their honor.

Another time-honored way to enjoy the blossoms along the Sumida River is with a riverboat cruise. These are available during the day or the evening, and tend to book up fast — though last we checked there were still some slots available.

Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival

March 18 to April 9
The river from Ikejiri-ōhashi Station to Meguro Station
Canal walk with lanterns

Dark boughs, nearly white cherry blossoms, and bright pink lanterns above the Meguro River
The Meguro River is photogenic no matter the conditions. | Photo by Getty Images

One of the most famous spots for hanami in Tokyo, the Meguro River has a canalside walk that will fill you with a newfound love for cherry blossoms — no matter how much you’ve seen them before. While eating and walking will be discouraged and there will be no stalls this year, local restaurants and cafes will still be open.

Nakameguro is especially known for being a couples’ spot, so if you’re looking for a romantic evening stroll, this is the perfect one to pick. Although the cherry trees are beautiful during the day, they are particularly stunning in the early evening as the sun sets and they are illuminated.

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Chiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival

March 24 to April 4
Kitanomaru Park and Chidorigafuchi Park
Imperial Palace and boats

Pink clouds of cherry blossoms along the sloping sides of the moat at Chidorigafuchi.
Chidorigafuchi is part of the Imperial Palace moat (which was once Edo Castle’s moat). | Photo by Getty Images

Chidorigafuchi mixes history with beauty, as this section of the Imperial Palace moat bursts with cherry blossoms coms spring. You can take a rowboat out onto the water, to see the sprays of blooms from beneath. On land, there is a 700m-long tunnel of some 250 Somei Yoshino trees, which are illuminated in the evenings throughout the duration of the festival.

The boats are out till late during the festival and there will be food stalls and snacks available, too.

Traveling in Japan? We’ve got recommendations for the top blossom spots in Kyoto, as well as for nearby Osaka.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in March 2018. Last updated March 13, 2023.

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